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Indiana State Basketball: Sycamores hosts SMU in NIT after NCAA Tournament snub

Indiana State's men's basketball team, despite a stellar season and high hopes of making the NCAA March Madness Tournament, was snubbed by the selection committee. Now, they're gearing up to host Southern Methodist in the opening round of the NIT, aiming to make a statement and prove their worth on the national stage.

2023 Indy Classic - Indiana State v Ball State
2023 Indy Classic - Indiana State v Ball State / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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Postseason basketball brings both excitement and disappointment to Terre Haute as Indiana State men's basketball team gears up to host Southern Methodist (SMU) in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Sycamores, boasting a remarkable regular season performance that saw them clinch the Missouri Valley Conference regular season championship, anticipated a shot at the NCAA March Madness Tournament. However, despite amassing 28 wins, including standout performances from goggle-wearing big man Robbie Avila, Indiana State found themselves on the wrong side of the bubble, overlooked by the NCAA selection committee.

The announcement came as a blow to the Sycamores, who had hoped to relive the glory days of their historic 1979 season when they reached the national championship game with basketball legend Larry Bird. Yet, their dreams of NCAA Tournament glory were dashed, leaving them with only the NIT as their postseason destination.

Nevertheless, Indiana State accepted the NIT invitation with determination, earning a No. 1 seed in the tournament. They are set to face off against SMU at the Hulman Center on Wednesday, March 20, in a matchup that promises to be intense and thrilling. With ESPN+ broadcasting the game live, fans will have the opportunity to witness the Sycamores' quest for postseason success firsthand.

Joining Indiana State and SMU in the bracket's top right side are notable teams such as Butler, Minnesota, Bradley, Loyola Chicago, Cincinnati, and San Francisco. Despite the disappointment of missing out on the NCAA Tournament, Indiana State remains focused and motivated to make a statement in the NIT.

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Reflecting on the NCAA snub, Dr. Charles McClelland, the NCAA selection committee chairman, acknowledged Indiana State's impressive season but cited discrepancies in their nonconference performances as a factor in the decision-making process. Despite the setback, the Sycamores are determined to make the most of their postseason opportunity, fueled by the desire to prove themselves on the national stage once again.